Search below for resources covering the intersection of climate engagement, social science and data analytics.
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Climate justice for Latino Americans means centering policies that achieve environmental, energy, and economic justice together. Latino/a/x households pay disproportionately high energy costs, low-income, Latino/a/x households and communities have so far been left behind in the transition to clean energy, and Latino/a/x workers need a pathway to clean energy jobs. Therefore, we need to invest with justice in clean energy, accelerate the transition to renewable energy (i.e., wind, solar, geothermal and small-scale hydropower), and advance economic equity and opportunity for Latino/a/x workers. This resource further details these problems and policy and political solutions, as related to transit, jobs, fossil fuel drilling, climate adaptation, clean water, voting rights, conservation, and more.
Various climate groups have recently used messages invoking “climate anxiety” to spur grassroots action. Science Moms and Action for the Climate Emergency have joined the Environmental Defense Fund and Climate Emergency Fund in running Facebook and Instagram ads about climate anxiety in recent weeks. A group called RepublicEn has been running Meta ads using conservative messengers like evangelicals, military figures, and elected officials to create a permission structure for Republican voters to support climate action. The dominant narrative about climate change or energy on social media last week concerned a report showing that some of the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve was shipped to countries like China. Pages like Breitbart and Tucker Carlson seized on the news to accuse the Biden administration of “treason”, but their content went mostly unchecked by progressive pages.
Online-offline organizing, which the Lab also calls “blended organizing," is organizing that engages participants using in-person and digital touches in concert with one another and mobilizes them to act both online and in-person. This tipsheet provides a detailed account of how advocates can successfully engage and develop their supporters using the organizing pathway model.
Building long-lasting grassroots power requires centering concrete issues and the humanity of individuals you’re organizing. Many organizations in West Virginia are cultivating organizers, building organizations that can sustainably organize local communities according to their needs for years to come, incorporating mutual aid, and more, in an effort to win and wield political power. In this article, The Forge contributor Mat Hanson discussed organizational strategies with multiple people involved in grassroots power building in West Virginia: Katey Lauer, co-chair of West Virginia Can’t Wait; Nicole McCormick, a founding member of the West Virginia United caucus and rank-and-file leader in the successful teacher’s strike; Dr. Shanequa Smith of Restorative Actions and the Black Voters Impact Initiative; and Joe Solomon, the co-founder and co-director of Solutions Oriented Addiction Response (SOAR), a volunteer-based organization that advocates for harm-reduction strategies to the opioid crisis.
Growing Voters: Building Institutions and Community Ecosystems for Equitable Electoral Participation
There are some key ways to improve on the current model for how to engage young people to vote. This report introduces and details a new framework for how institutions and communities can prepare young people—starting long before they turn 18—to become active and informed voters. There are profound inequities in access to civic learning and engagement opportunities for young people. Implementing a “growing voters” approach involves engaging potential (young) voters year-round, building culture of the importance of civic participation, contacting potential voters even before they turn 18, targeting young people who even haven’t voted before, and doing so everywhere (national and locally, not just in competitive electoral districts). This report describes these tactics in detail, for how to produce a long-term increase in young people voting.
Ruptural moments are key to long-term movement victories. Ruptural moments by themselves rarely lead to substantive changes in people’s material conditions or the dismantling of the status quo; they need to be situated within a dynamic movement ecosystem. In a ruptural moment, thousands or hundreds of thousands of people hit the streets. Second, participants are willing to engage in a huge escalation of risk. Third, ruptural moments open a window into a change in thinking — opening the eyes of a society to the fact that a dictatorship is fragile or that Indigenous sovereignty must be respected or that Black folks have a different lived experience than white folks. In other words, in changing how space or public order works, ruptural moments contest the story of the dominant culture. Movement organizers can create ruptural moments by working for months in a disciplined way to achieve the scale necessary for something major to happen, or by a smaller group of organizers attempting something bold, enabling it to scale as others are captivated by the boldness of the tactic or demand and launch copycat actions or undergird the movement. And sometimes, unexpected events just happen that create ruptures.
Historic Environmental Justice Victory: City of Los Angeles is creating a pathway to phase out existing oil and gas wells
Residents, community organizations, and health care practitioners organized for over a decade to protect the health of residents on the front lines of urban oil extraction in L.A. In January 2022, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to draft an ordinance to prohibit all new oil and gas drilling and to phase out existing drilling operations throughout the City of Los Angeles. This resource is based on an interview with Wendy Miranda (she/they), a community leader with Communities for a Better Environment (CBE) and resident, about the historic victory. The organizing strategy to get this victory involved various lobbying efforts, rallies, press conferences, petition collections, a wide range of community/organization endorsements, phone banking, and social media outreach. Overall, frontline residents providing public comments and sharing their personal experiences were some of the strongest and most powerful tactics. STAND L.A. will continue to be part of the process to help draft an ordinance and direct the City of Los Angeles on how to lead a genuine community participation process. Miranda shares that this victory is proof that frontline communities can lead the change toward a just, equitable transition to a clean energy future.
Analyzing voter data is crucial to making the right strategic choices to win local and state elections. With the 2022 midterm elections approaching, how can Democrats be successful down ballot in local and state legislative elections, even with the national headwinds that Democrats face this year? Via this tool, users can leverage TargetSmart’s national voter file and national ElectionBase product to identify down ballot election performance trends from the last decade and visualize likely 2022 toss up districts at multiple levels of the ballot—and how they overlap—as well as key metrics around Democratic performance, down ballot drop-off and down ballot roll-off. TargetSmart’s belief is that knowing the where and when of drop-off and roll-off (even if we can't know the 'who') can help progressives plan and execute more effective down ballot voter contact programs in a challenging election year.
Investing in local organizing is the most important way to build movement power—and it must be linked to influencing national politics. Alongside investment in organizing we need to see support for storytelling and strategic communications work, insight and evaluation and the generation of irresistible ideas that can shift whole systems and paradigms as well as change policy and practice in the medium term. Organizing has the following crucial benefits: provides people with a safe framework to meet other people across the community and to work together with them; gives people an opportunity to engage in political life in a way that other organizations don’t; develops skills and gives local people a chance to learn; and enables people to take part in a range of campaigns on regularization for irregular migrants, properly affordable housing, better community safety and access to living-wage jobs, among others. Movements that win: have the necessary infrastructure to support activity to happen at key moments, allowing them to prepare for and harness external events; are a well-developed ecosystem; and are cultivated over a long period of time and ready to be activated when opportunities arise. This report is focused on the UK but carries parallel lessons for the US.
To build stronger movements, we need to build up our ambition, be strategic in our discipline, and lead with the process. Movement groups need to center “antimonopoly” thinking and action. These authors work for the organization Liberation in a Generations, which is committed to bringing grassroots organizers of color to the forefront of the antimonopoly movement, especially in policymaking, advocacy, and narrative change. Ambition is a practice, just as — to borrow from Mariame Kaba — “hope is a discipline.” Sometimes we need to hold tight, to execute the strategies and best practices that we know are most likely to lead to winning campaigns; but other times, we need to let go and reach for something else, something that speaks to our ideals — and which might work or might land us on our asses. Process should always put the people with the least positional power first.